I need a noun to describe the state of being enabled/disabled. Do any exist?

For example, I have some device (or software control), which can be in an enabled state or a disabled state. Let's say I want to ask someone to check whether device is enabled:

Please check device enability.

I need a real word to replace enability.

  • I updated my answer to include "flag".
    – kzh
    Jun 28, 2011 at 14:30
  • 1
    Suggestion: Instead of asking the user to check for a state, have them do the action to enable it: "Please check the power button". Hope this applies to your situation, but you still have given very little context.
    – tenfour
    Jun 28, 2011 at 14:38
  • This question is the first Google result for "enability". I'm sad to see it's not a real word. visible:visibility::enabled:??
    – Paul
    Oct 14, 2017 at 21:01
  • Why can't we just start using the word 'enability' since we need it? :/ After all, necessity is what gives birth to invention. No? :) Still i'm little scared to start using it. To combat the peer pressure I need support of some friends :P
    – Hasaan Ali
    Feb 1, 2018 at 6:29
  • 1
    as per Latin word construction, the word would be enabilitation, but this word doesn't exist Apr 28, 2020 at 6:28

6 Answers 6


What is the status of your device?

Might result in a few answers, among which are:

The device is currently enabled.

The device is currently disabled.


I don't think that you're going to find a good, unambiguous single word for this case. The other things suggested would not necessarily be understood by all English speakers without explanation. Just use a simple rewording:

Please check that your device is enabled.

  • 2
    Or maybe "Please check device state". In programming, I normally use state to refer to the binary value of a variable or flag. Jun 28, 2011 at 14:17
  • A switch. It can have a binary state. On/Off, Enabled/Disabled. This term is used often in software.

  • A flag in software is a binary state datum or object, sometimes represented by a single bit, e.g. "Please ensure that the writable flag is enabled." See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_(computing)

  • ability It can be enabled or disabled. I have the ability to stand which currently is not enabled, since I am in class.



Words enable disable created from same root able as word ability.


"Please check device readiness".

"Please check device state". [Then clarify: {on/off} / {online/offline} / {enabled/disabled} ].

However, I'm not sure that these wordings represent much of an improvement with respect to your options.

One problem in this particular context is the ambiguity of the instruction: it is unclear what should happen after the readiness of the device has been checked. For instance, if it is found to be off, should it then be turned on? Alternatively, if it is found to be on, should it be turned off?

I'd therefore be inclined to adapt the wording of your example accordingly. For instance:

Please ensure the device is enabled.

Make sure the device is turned on.

Ensure the device is online.

Verify that the device is connected to the server.

If the device is on, switch it off.


Please check device enability. -- I need a real word to replace enability.

There isn't one.

There is a touching belief that English has a word for everything - it doesn't. :)

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